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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tales From Below - A Subway Transcript

NYC subway
Photo by myself just outside a typical NYC subway.

Riders are warned by live and recorded messages to stand clear of the closing doors.


Tuesday morning, the N train was stuck during morning rush hour traffic between Brooklyn and Manhattan.

9:04 am Train grinds to a halt. Riders look up from their papers, unsurprised. It was drizzling lightly outside, and rain makes the trains go haywire.

9:05 am The train has not moved. No announcements had been made. Passengers shuffled around but stayed quiet, waiting.

9:06 am Disgruntlement sets in. The sounds of shuffling feet and sighs become audible.

9:07 am An announcement is made that there is a stalled train directly ahead of us. Please be patient. Thank you and have a good day, from New York City Transit. The woman standing to my right swore under her breath.

9:08 am I start to compare the perception of time on a stopped subway train to a vacation in Mexico. I realize that standing up, carrying all your stuff and being squished against people is very different from sitting under a beach umbrella in a bikini.

9:10 am A pregnant woman in her third trimester squats down out of exhaustion. A female passenger notices and quickly finds a her a seat.

9:13 am A passenger presses the Emergency Call Button and pleads for air conditioning. 'Give me a break, you're suffocating us in here!' she cries. Immediately, the fans come on.

9:14 am Miraculously, the train starts to move. There is no applause, no chatter, just a collective sigh of relief. We chug slowly through the tunnel, eventually merging into the daylight to a view of Manhattan and the East River.


Related posts: Asleep on the D Train, A Much-Needed Nap and The Space of Chance Encounters.


valeria said...

Kitty, I feel like I peeped through an open window Verona-NY! What a suggestive text to accompany your pic. It must be so hard to commute every day, feeling packed in a tin. You perfectly conveyed the feeling,....I need air!!

BrianC said...

I used to be among those sighing, etc., over slow or delayed subways. But in recent years, I've just learned to accept it as one of those "things" that happens over which we have no control. Now, I just continue reading or close my eyes and listen to the ipod. There are so many more important things about which I might stress.

Olivier said...

comme dans tous les métros du monde, il est aussi dur de sortir de la rame que de rentrer ;o)
as in all subways of the world, it is also hard to take out from the wagon that to come back ;o)

tr3nta said...

Great photo... very well captured the rush hour movement.

dianasfaria.com said...

Though I can easily sit in traffic for an extra 10 minutes,it's a whole different story in the subway! LOL
I like your photo of the patient New Yorkers waiting outside the subway.

J.C. said...

It happens to our commuter train too! And sometimes it's stuck in the middle of nowhere. The poor passengers have to wait in the train for over one hour in no air-cond condition until the train powered up again!!

-K- said...

What a classic NY shot.

Anonymous said...

sounds very familiar...